TODAY -

Social Media & Political Campaigning

B Sadananda Sharma *



The Information Age or so called Computer Age, Digital Age or New Media Age where every single individual is linked with one or more social media account for the purpose of regular communication. In estimate India has 448.0 million of people using social media platforms in January 2021. The number of social media users in India increased by 78 million (+21%) between 2020 and 2021.

As the number of social media users grows the land of social media becomes more fertile for politicians to run their beneficial campaigns and using in a best possible way to reach every individual in a simple and faster manner. The Social media has changed the game of politics, allowing incumbents and newcomers alike to speak directly to constituents on everything from policy to what they had for dinner.

But, how the power of social media is used by the politicians for their campaigns successfully? As political campaigns are becoming increasingly more expensive and the need to reach out to constituencies is becoming more vital, social media undoubtedly play a more important role in determining electoral outcomes as it gives politicians a solid platform. Meeting each and every individual is not possible for the politicians.

So it is necessary for them to get connected themselves directly to other people, where in this case, social media provides a hand in hand solutions. The use of social media in politics and during political campaign has become a vital part for every political parties and candidates, since social media sites capturing more attention and traffic than a public or official public campaign.

Campaign run through social media survives for a longer period of time until it is taken down and keeps spreading as the number of supporters and popularity grows. Social media which not only allows the politicians to seek information about the public grievances but also let them to interact with other and express their views, opinion, planning, development etc by posting on social media sites. It also helps the users (public) to politically express themselves by encouraging to vote.

Many politicians create interesting posts and make the followers engaged which is similar to the strategy followed by a brand or media company. Political campaign and commercial campaign are having similar characteristics.

Commercial campaigns focus on promoting particular products, services or ideas to the consumers, with the sole aim of creating the awareness of products, services or ideas and compete with their competitive brand for continuing their profit level and market share.

Similarly, political campaigns intend to promote parties, candidates, political agenda or political causes, targeting at voters as a commercial consumers where the purpose is garnering votes, increasing awareness and to improves possibilities of winning the election. A good promotion of the candidate or political party as a brand will intensify the candidate or party image, which is brand loyalty throughout the election and also on non election period.

Furthermore, there is still a controversy that in spite the similarities, consumers and voters are relatively different on considering their respective contexts in details. There are certain difference among product/service marketing and political marketing.

According to Lock and Harris (1996) paper introduction of new brand is less complicated in the commercial arena compare to introduction of a new political party or candidate; the candidate or political party are intangible, conglomerated products like voters cannot disentangle; also every voters has the collective choice and no price is relatively attached to selection of party or voting. Voters decides on a single party and vote for single party whereas consumers can buy different brands products at same time.

Coming to getting connected with the public on a personal and social level which is an essential part for every politicians and the tool they use for it is campaigning must be choose wisely. Many prominent and famous politicians use social media for communication on a larger scale with minimum effort.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi social media campaign in 2014; Barack Obama presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012 activated the interest in political action and networked digital connectivity. According to a study 2012 ”A 61-million-person experiment in social influence and political mobilization” revealed that Facebook feeds relatively affects the pattern of voting by testing the concept of voting behaviour can considerably influence by Facebook messages and posts.

Certain political posts from friends and family can considerably provoked and stimulate thousands of voters which increased the voter’s ratio indirectly by social media contagion.

The exponential growth of internet and easily accessible social media has also created a trail for politics to use social media strategy. Social media has altered the approach of political communication, politicians and political parties and are opting social media for a new way of connecting with voters.

Unique methods and style for deliberating the political campaigning are being implemented in present contexts to catch voters, spread agenda and to strengthen the party. Even though the political campaign has turned its medium to online it gives much more opportunity and advantages for the voters to grasp and understand a candidate or political party which brings to the voting for a right candidate in future.

However, every pro has its cons some people use social media just to spread rumors and false propaganda or news. They instigate people to go against each other just to get votes or defame a political party or candidates.

We should use social media as a boon not to be a curse for anyone. We should use this forum to build an aware society that understand every changing wave and momentum of politics and choose our leader appropriately.


* B Sadananda Sharma wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer can be contacted at sadanandasharmabca(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on September 16 2021.



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